Proving that you are the best funeral home in town

My partner called Spades, and I looked down at the three Spades in my hand. We took all the tricks, scored two points, and won the Euchre game.

Growing up in Canada, the card game Euchre was a part of every family gathering. We would finish dinner, clear the table, bring out a deck of cards, and play game after game for the rest of the evening.

I just returned from a trip back to my hometown, where I enjoyed playing Euchre with three of my siblings. I teamed up with my younger sister, and we won every game.

The rules of Euchre are relatively straightforward. One player calls a suit (Hearts, Diamonds, Clubs, or Spades) and then plays the card in their hand, attempting to take at least three tricks. Winning takes a bit of luck and a whole bunch of strategy.

Calling a particular suit is usually a pretty easy decision. But backing up that decision with the cards in your hand is what wins the game.

Winning in the funeral home business is very similar to Euchre. You pick a strategy based on what you think will make a difference in your market. Then you prove it with things that families care about  (i.e., the cards in your hand). The more points you have to prove or support your strategy, the better the odds it will work.

One common strategy that funeral home owners like to use is based on longevity. So they’ll advertise “Serving families since 1910,” and their competition will respond by advertising “Serving families since 1875”. 

The problem is that today’s consumers do not put a high priority on longevity. They want you to have an established business, and they want you to have a track record of caring for families. But whether you’ve been in business for 30 years or 130 years doesn’t make enough of a difference to win the call.

So what does make a difference?

Some funeral homes use “low-cost” as the core of their marketing strategy. That’s a reasonable strategy, but you have to be careful when you start a price war because there’s always someone willing to undercut your price to win the call. 

Convenience is important to today’s busy family. This might be a valid strategy if you can prove that you have the most convenient funeral home in the area. You could build a campaign around points like proximity to the freeways, churches, cemeteries, etc.

A strategy that I’ve used with many clients is to position them as the best funeral home in the area. 

We’re not the lowest cost and not necessarily the most convenient. However, we are the best. Many families will pay more and drive further to be served by the best funeral home.

It’s important to remember that you cannot say that you are the best. That would come across as egotistical, and families won’t believe you.

So how do you prove that you are the best?

You must have excellent attention to detail, your body prep must be perfect, your funerals must be beautiful and flawless, and your level of care must be outstanding. But those are all things that the family experiences after you have won the call. So the real challenge is proving you are the best when they are initially comparing funeral homes.

Here are three simple ways to tell a family that you are “the best” without directly saying it yourself.

#1 – have an excellent website

Any family who is comparing funeral homes is going to look at your website before calling you. As I’ve said in previous newsletters, your website creates your first impression in today’s internet-driven world.

If you compare your website with your competitors, is it noticeably better? Does it communicate how you are uniquely able to care for a family? Does it reflect current website styles, or does it look like it was designed in 2005? 

You may be the best funeral home in the area, but if your website looks like it hasn’t been updated in decades, you’re sending the wrong message to a prospective family.

#2 – win the “Best of” award in your community

Many communities have a “Best of” or “Readers Choice” award. It is typically organized by a local newspaper or radio station, and residents vote on the businesses in each category, including the best funeral home. The winner typically gets a special image they can display on their website and social media.

Remember, you cannot say that you are the best. But there is nothing wrong with letting other people say it for you!

#3 – have the best Google reviews in your community

72% of people trust a Google review as much as a recommendation from a friend. I have had many clients tell me they’ve won calls from families who chose them because of their Google reviews.

This is another case of letting others say you are the best. People trust Google reviews. If Google says you’re the best, you are!

There are four factors people consider when looking at your Google reviews.

  1. Volume – how many reviews do you have?
  2. Rating – what is your score out of 5.0?
  3. Recency – how recent is your latest review?
  4. Sentiment – what are people saying about you?

A few years ago, people only cared about your rating. Today, all four factors are essential if you are going to win the call.

If you’d like to see how your funeral home reviews compare to your competition, here’s a link to our new online reputation audit tool.

Just provide your funeral home information, and a reputation audit report will be delivered to your email within a few minutes.

Remember, choosing a strategy is an important starting point. But if you want to win the call, you have to back it up with proof so that people will believe you and trust you to care for their family.

Until next time


PS: I love it when a competitor plays the “Serving families since 1875” card. That’s when I pull out my “Google review” card and win the call every time!


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